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Internships are a vital part of the collegiate experience. In today's competitive culture, students are wise to bring career-related experiences to the attention of potential employers and graduate schools. Hiring and admissions personnel are looking for candidates with maturity and confidence, good writing and speaking skills, honesty and integrity, leadership, interpersonal strengths, initiative, creativity, and flexibility. Many of these strengths are honed through the real world experience of an internship.
Internships will help you develop the work habits, attitudes, and skills to begin your career. They will enable you to build your network of professional contacts, explore career options, apply classroom theory and concepts, become acquainted with company culture, and make a contribution to the organization that mentors you. Experience counts. Get your career in motion today!
What you need to know...
An internship is a practical and professional work experience that allows students to participate in the operations of business, industry, education, government, or not-for-profit organizations. Internships provide students with opportunities to integrate their classroom learning with on-the-job experiences and to test practical applications of their liberal arts education in a variety of settings (LVC catalog).
Internships involve supervision, mentoring, and reflection. In large part this is what distinguishes them from other forms of experience such as part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities. As such, they need to be planned carefully with the student, faculty advisor, and employer sharing in the establishment of learning objectives, work assignments and tasks, reflection activities, and evaluation measures.
The best place to start is with your faculty advisor and/or the internship coordinator within your academic department. You will want to find out about eligibility requirements (class standing, GPA, etc.) and deadlines for submitting all necessary paperwork. In most cases there will be application forms or personal statements to complete, recommendations to acquire, and verification agreements needed from your on-site supervisor. Start early!
The Office of the Registrar plays a critical role in the process as well. Be sure to obtain, complete, and return the Internship Agreement Form if you expect to receive credit for your internship experience.
Your faculty advisor will have lots to share with you about how to prepare for and get the most out of your internship experience. In addition, you can take advantage the resources and advice from the Career Development Office, including workshops and programs, internship resources.